FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax and Harrisonburg police held a joint news conference Friday afternoon to announce the arrest of an alleged serial killer, whom they are calling the "shopping cart killer."
Police say the bodies of four victims of the alleged serial killer have been found since August in Virginia. Investigators believe there are likely more even possibly beyond the commonwealth of Virginia and up the East Coast.
Harrisonburg Police Chief Kelley Warner identified the so-called "shopping cart killer" as 35-year-old Anthony Robinson of D.C.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said Robinson meets women on dating sites and in motels and "does unspeakable things with his victims."
Davis said, "After he inflicts trauma to his victims and kills them, he transports their bodies to their final resting place literally in a shopping cart—and there's video to that effect."
Detectives are working to conduct a "retrospective investigation" to find out exactly where Robinson has been.
Kelley said investigators believe two of Robinson's alleged victims are from Harrisonburg.
Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD) identified two women "found dead in the commercial district of the city of Harrisonburg" on Nov. 23 as 54-year-old Allene Elizabeth “Beth” Redmon and 39-year-old Tonita Lorice Smith. As a result of surveillance footage, HPD arrested Robinson.
Redmon was missing from Harrisonburg and Smith was missing from Charlottesville, Kelley said. Although the two women appeared to be killed at different times, Kelley said their bodies were found a short distance from each other in an undeveloped lot off of Linda Lane.
Kelley said Metropolitan Police Department contacted Harrisonburg Major Crimes Division Nov. 30 and said that a missing person they were investigating— Cheyenne Brown, 29, of Southeast D.C.—had contact with Robinson. HPD determined Robinson had met with Brown at the Moon Inn Hotel on Richmond Highway in Alexandria.
Fairfax County detectives will be going to Redding, California to get DNA samples to see if a woman named Stephanie Harrison of Redding might be the fourth victim of Anthony Robinson. Harrison came to detectives' attention because of missing person flyers posted along Richmond highway (rt 1) in Alexandria.
HPD started working with FCPD to identify and track down more possible victims of Robinson.
Major Ed O’Carroll, who leads FCPD's Major Crimes Cyber and Forensic Bureau, said Fairfax County detectives joined Metro Police on Dec. 7 in searching for Brown.
Investigators found that on Sept. 30, Brown took the metro from the District to the Huntington Metro stop "and never returned," O'Carroll said. Digital data shows that Brown was located on the 16100 block of Richmond Highway the night she disappeared. This is near the Moon Inn Hotel. George Mason homicide detectives were unable to locate Brown in this area, O'Carroll said.
Investigators eventually obtained surveillance footage of Brown and Robinson at the same D.C. Metro stop, O'Carroll said.
O'Carroll said on Wednesday a homicide detective found human remains tucked away in an isolated wooded area, not far from a shopping cart. Investigators said the remains of two women were in a container near a shopping cart in the 2400 block of Fairhaven Avenue in Alexandria.
Investigators believe one of the bodies belongs to Brown because of a tattoo, but this has not yet been "scientifically" confirmed, O'Carroll said.
O'Carroll said detectives determined Robinson was communicating with Brown using a dating app. Investigators still are working to confirm the identify the remains of the other woman found dead in the container, O'Carroll said, adding, "We have a lot of work to do."
Investigators believe Brown and the unidentified woman were killed by Robinson, or "the shopping cart killer."
Robinson is in custody at the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail.
O'Carroll said detectives haven't ruled out the possibility that there may be more than one killer.
"Justice will prevail and the offender will be held accountable for what he did— and we haven't ruled out 'they,' ... maybe what 'they' did— and how he, or they, did it," O'Carroll said.
Charges in Fairfax County are forthcoming for Robinson, O'Carroll said. He has already been charged in Harrisonburg.
Anyone with information about this case should call FCPD's Major Crimes Division at 703-246-7800. Anyone with anonymous tips can call 1-866-411-TIPS.
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